Can you smell it? Yes, it’s the smell of finally achieving something in a limited beta test.
The Seraph-Issue Armor, by race
So, the whole plan was to take pictures of the same armor with 4 races (everything except human). The results:
Just to make sure, I’ll tell you that those pictures were taken with the new build-in equipment preview and that the Seraph-Issued armor is only the chest and legs parts (headgear, gloves and boots are not part of the “set”). Also, the current implementation of the equipment preview is not taking in consideration your armor colors from looking at gear that it’s on your bank (why it was in my bank in a second). When I put the gear, it finally picked up the personal colors, although it was not in the preview anymore.
But why the the gear was in my bank, anyway? Well, that’s the part where I tell you what I did this weekend.
At first I rolled a Charr (only because it’s the first in the list). After reaching something like level 13, I decided to take my path towards Kessex Hills going through Queensdale, doing whatever events or renown hearts there were in the way. Once I reached Fort Salma, I noticed that there wasn’t an armorsmith vendor and to actually buy the gear, I’d have to complete some renown hearts and turn then into karma vendors. Now that wouldn’t be hard, except mobs around are all level 20-23 and that would probably mean being plowed no matter what I did. So back to Plains of Ashford.
Everything Is Better With Crazy People
Once back to Ashford, I went going my things, jumping between renown hearts and personal story, with a gathering there and a dynamic event here, when I suddenly found myself in the middle of this group of people. The guy leading the pack was one Redditor (Acid Dream Laser Beam ftw). But then thing is: while the place had mobs around level 13-15, this guy was level 5; the rest of the group had a level 9 with them (and they were probably moving forward only due the pack size). Since I was doing fine with my Guardian, I decided to follow along, with the thing in mind to not let this guy die.
And there I went, with a group that was being out-leveled everywhere and trying my best to keep everyone alive (oh mace, how I love you for that). In the end, it was just me and this guy (now at level 9) just trying to complete the map. Needless to say, I got pretty close to level 20, which was enough to go back to Kessex Hills. And I still had a whole day to try to get said gear.
Did You Saw That?
One of the new things you get this time are “vistas”. Those are new elements that you need to complete to complete a map and you earn a little XP every time you find those.
Vistas are books floating usually on top of high ground which will give you some XP and you’ll usually have to deal with some sort of jumping puzzle to reach them. Remember when I said I was having problems finding the jumping puzzles in the previous betas? Well, that kinda tells you “Hey! There is a jumping puzzle here. Go find it!”
Also, there was this really obvious jumping puzzle in the Sylvari zone, although without a vista at the top:
Whoa, You’re Going to Get Us Killed!
I didn’t realize this till I thought I had enough, but leveling was incredible faster this time. If you remember, by playing BWE1 and BWE2, I reached level 28. Now, if you realize, in a little bit more than a day (Saturday the whole day and Friday night), I was only 8 levels behind. If they scaled the XP rewards up for people to experience more content this time with Asuras and Sylvari, if it’s their final adjustment in XP gains or if that happened due me running around with a group, that’s a different story.
Keep in mind that I kept jumping between Sylvary, Asura and Charr when bored and took naps whenever I feel like (which on weekends is pretty common). One person focusing on a single character the whole weekend probably reached level 30 easily.
It’s Crafting Time!
Still lagging a few levels, I decided to take a break and play with crafting and check how the leveling goes. Fact is, up to that point, I was gathering everything I could and breaking down every single piece of gear that I couldn’t use or was replaced. I had more than one full stack of Copper Ore and, thus, it felt it was the right time to abuse this.
The first discipline I got was weaponsmith, since I already had plans on getting better gear anyway. There wasn’t any change since the last BWE, but what I was interested was the level you earn. And you get a little XP every time you level up your discipline and only when leveling the discipline. Earning crafting XP to level your discipline will not earn a single bit of character XP.
Also, I noticed that even when every crafting possibility is grey already, if you find a new combination, you’ll still earn crafting XP. For example, if the Healing Green Inscription, Bronze Mace Head and Small Green Haft are all grey already (meaning you won’t get any experience from making them), by making a Healing Bronze Mace you will still earn crafting XP. So it seems everything fall back into finding all possible combinations of everything to earn those 10 levels by reaching level 400 in a discipline.
But, since I only reached level 70 as weaponsmith and level 20-something in leatherworking (for the bags), I only got 2 levels. But, for what I wanted, that was enough.
And back to Kessex Hills, I finally had enough levels to complete the hearts. The first piece I got was the legs, which required level 23. “No problem”, I thought. “I only have to find where I can find the chest piece and I’m all good”.
Realizing the chest of a set shouldn’t be far away, I decided to check the renown heart nearby. Lo and behold, completing the renown heart just outside Fort Salma opened the required vendor. “Fuck yeah”, I though, just before seeing it had a “Binds of use”. Well, fuck. Now I’d have to level my Sylvari and Asura to level 23 too! And that’s when it hit me that I could just drop said gear in the bank and use the preview.
Phew, that was long.
With about one hour till I had to go to sleep to work next day, I decided to check the cultural heavy armors. I took screenshots of all 4 races, cut them for easy showing and… Someone posted this link with all armors in all races. Oh well, have fun there.
Apart from the feeling that performance went bad in this BWE compared to previous one, I didn’t find any glaring bugs or felt things were incredible unbalanced (although the Flame Shaman still is a pain in the backside).